Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moving to Wordpress

After repeatedly running into issues stemming from Blogger and Gmails' logins being linked, I've decided to haul this blog over to Wordpress so that I can both check email and update my blog at the same time. You can find new posts at I hope anyone reading this will come find me there.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baby Sling For Craft Inclined Mamas

Just a quick post solely for the purpose of sharing this pattern.

My fellow crafty mama, Kathy, has put a great tutorial up on how to make a a baby sling, use one safely, and correctly size it for yourself. If you are interested in using a sling and making one for yourself, check out this tutorial!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eat, Learn, Work, Watch the Sun Go Down

Yesterday was fairly laid back, but I did have a few things I needed to do, and the closest one was roughly 45 minutes away. Luckily, most everything was in the same general area.

I am observing a Lamaze childbirth class series, which has been great since I know very little about modern Lamaze (which is not necessarily the whole laying on the floor, hee hee hoo breathing technique of old). The downside would be that it is held almost an hour from my home and starts bright and early on Saturday mornings. I made a mistake this week when setting my alarm clock and woke myself up early this week. This comes with an obvious downside (oh extra hour of sleep, how deeply I mourn your loss), but it did give me time to make breakfast for myself on the way out.

I'm not big on the traditional breakfast fare of this part of the world and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand for the Japanese slow-roasted eggplant with dengaku sauce recipe from JustHungry. I used a veggies peeler to peel my eggplant since what I had on hand was the thick skinned Italian kind of eggplant and the miso I used is an azuki bean based one that is probably meant more for use as a condiment than cooking with, but other than that I just followed the recipe. I would say that you should probably like the taste of miso if you cook this for yourself. I do, so this made a fantastic start to my day.

Class was lovely (as always, I'll miss it when the series is over next week), and the rest of my errands mostly went without incident. After I got home, the hubs and myself walked up to the building site and spent some time clearing brush and debris while our little one enjoyed some bonding time with her grandmother. I didn't take my camera with me on that excursion, but I look forward to posting some pictures. A fairly large chunk of the plat is now (mostly) cleaned up and sorted into four rather large piles: useful, compost, recyclable, and unusable. My aim is to clean up the portions that can be planted without getting in the way of building the house first. That way we can go ahead and get a few things growing.

We worked until the sun started creeping down. It was a surprisingly nice evening. I feel somewhat silly that our date time (while we had a babysitter) was spent digging out half buried scrap metal, but working towards this goal of having the home we want for our family is by far more gratifying than going to see a movie has ever been.

The day ended on an even better note when my husband offered to cook dinner (meaning fire up the grill). It was a beautiful night. The glow of the fire was the main source of lighting outside. The only sounds were crickets and tree frogs singing and a train somewhere off in the distance. It was still nice and warm after a long, sunny day. Perfect.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Walk to the Home site

This morning was a rather hectic affair that involved running around our town, trying to find the right place, people and information to get the sale of a little hunk of land for us to build on finalized and the deed in our name. It is still not all done, but the paperwork is ready and later this afternoon we should be signing it. Some days I think the red tape related to this project is worse than the actual building process is going to be. Everywhere we went people knew a little something about buying a house, but no one seemed to know what we needed to do to buy land. It was repeatedly recommended that we talk to our builder/contractor. I had a little trouble explaining that we were going to do the labor ourselves.

In any case, as of right now we are still on track with our grand plan to build our own home, make it as self sustaining as possible, and do it out of pocket.

It is a beautiful day today, so after we got done with our wild deed hunt I strapped the little one into the mei tai I made last night (and will be putting a free pattern up for once I work out a few kinks in the design) and we walked to the new home site.

I'm very excited, after 6 years of urban living and being able to hear my neighbors snoring at night, at the prospect of nothing but untouched forest off my back deck.

Unfortunately, before we begin building, there are still permits to get and the similarly daunting task of cleaning up the building site, which is currently a mess.

A friend is going to come help us go through the stuff and debris that has accumulated over the years tomorrow in exchange for food and beer. On initial inspection this afternoon I found three sinks, a bunch of roof trusses that appear to still be in usable condition (I'm super excited about these since the roof is looking to be one of our largest expenses if we have to buy trusses), a shower, hot tub, and two two bath tubs that may be repairable, more concrete block than I was expecting to need, some old windows (may not be able to use these as I'm not sure what building code requirements for windows will be) and a pile of metal beams.

Since I was planning on using reclaimed materials wherever possible, these are great finds for us! Also, given that we intend to build out of pocket rather than take out a loan, this should pretty drastically increase how far we can go with what we currently have saved.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Yarn for St. Patty's

As St. Patty's draws to a close, I thought I would toss a post up with the only green thing I've made in quite a while. My little angel has recently made the wonderful transition to little whirlwind. With mobility has come a nasty side effect of perpetually bruised little knees and shins. Until we make yet another transition to walking, I'm crocheting homemade BabyLegs at top speed.

I'm somewhat of a novice crocheter, so excuse my poor pattern making skills. They're a work in progress. In any case, if anyone is interested in making their own and need a starting place, here is roughly how these were made:

You need:
leftover yarn in two colors (I didn't measure, but maybe 1/5 a skein)

Start with main color (this give me cleaner edges, but someone more experienced may not need to do this)
Chain 30, join ends
Double crochet 30 x 16 rows
Change to contrasting color (this is the brown on the pair shown above)
Double crochet 1 row at top
Tie off the top
Double crochet 1 row at bottom
Tie off bottom

Repeat to make second legging.

Weave elastic through the top and bottom double crochet stitches and tie off with just enough elastic to hold the opening at its unstretched size. You could also put the legging on the baby to measure if you want. Be sure to do top and bottom of each legging. I'm finding that is very helpful in keeping them on a baby who crawls at warp speed.

My Camera and My Computer Finally Connected..

Photos have been piling up on my camera. I thought it was about time for me to load them onto the computer and go through them. I was absolutely thrilled with the photos from our visit to the aquarium! I had intended to put something at least mildly related to St. Patty's Day up today (there is still time!), but for now I want to share some lovely photos of the spectacular exhibits at the Georgia Aquarium.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catching Up

Things have been a bit hectic here in the last few weeks. There was my daughter's first trip to the aquarium, a nasty cold that floated around our home, a baby shower for my best friend (which had to be perfect, because she deserves nothing less!), garden planning, CSA picking (this becomes a hectic task when you need four very opinionated people to agree on one), and preparation for the first round of jurying for an art show that I participate in every year by tradition. Never the less, I'm very excited about getting back into the (more) normal groove of things now that most of that is behind me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Day!

Since moving back to the northwestern part of Georgia, my little family has seen more snow in two and a half months than the previous six years combined. In fact, prior to making this move, we hadn't seen ANY snow in the past six years. As such, I feel ill prepared every time I look outside to see a cascade of fluffy white stuff, but it still makes me giddy. I'm sure the novelty will wear off in time, but we're not there yet.

The down side of our winter wonderland has been a lack of outdoor adventures for my little girl. I miss our walks, but I'm not sure she has noticed. What she did notice for certain yesterday were the birds outside the kitchen window as we sat inside and watched the snow falling. She was absolutely smitten, and we watched until it was time for our late afternoon nap.

After a short nap, we got back up to find the snow had continued to fall and most of our feathered friends had moved on after their dinner had become buried.

With my infrequent snow experiences, I tend to remember those that I have had very well. One of the most vivid from my childhood involves something called snowcream. As a kid, I was always in a rush to run out and places my mother's mixing bowls all over the yard to catch snow so that we could prepare this special treat. When I saw this snow beginning to fall, it didn't take me long to find myself regressing and searching the kitchen for a few bowls to set out on the porch.

The contents of those bowls came in this morning (as the snow was melting fast) and quickly became something sweeter and creamer than their previous state. My daughter, who was not interested in the snow when she first experienced it in late December, was fascinated with the cold, white stuff she spotted in the kitchen today. I think we've already found some basic common ground as mother and daughter. Frozen treats are yummy, and snow is at its best when you can enjoy it while staying warm!

Recipe for snowcream:
-1 bowl of snow
-1/3 cup heavy whipping cream for every 1 cup of snow (add more if you prefer it to be a bit slushy)
-1/2 tbs powdered sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
-1 tsp almond extract (you can also use vanilla)

This works best mixed outside where it's cold, and done in a metal bowl, but who wants to freeze?
Pour the cream slowly into the snow, folding it in with a spatula. It should develop a more icecream like texture, but may not be completely smooth. After this stir in your flavoring. Finish by sprinkling with powdered sugar and then stirring it in as well.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Where to start?

I dislike coming up with a first blog post, but you have to start somewhere, right? An introduction and a little explanation seems like the most appropriate course of action, so here goes:

I'm an illustrator/artist/designer/person with an art degree who is willing to do a wide variety of things for a paycheck. I also write. It's not my strength. Hopefully this whole blogging bit will help that at some point.

In addition to those things I am the wife of an amazing man, the mother to an even more amazing little girl, and a birth doula (mostly as a volunteer). I love to craft and find the line drawn between "crafts" and "art" to be a bit ridiculous, but I am aware that it is there. My more specific interests include, but are not limited to sewing, printing, bookbinding, cooking, photography, gardening and making lumpy yarn things that pretend to be blankets and scarves. I'm better at some of these things than others.

I've taken a couple of previous stabs at blogging, the most successful of which being a sort of sketchbook blog that I added to my portfolio site in order to make updates and announcements infinitely easier on myself (because re-writing code twice a week gets old fast). While I love having a place to share what I'm currently working on, I sometimes find my art blog terribly restrictive due to the fact that it is a part of the website I send all of my potential employers to. That's great for sketches and announcements, but not so fantastic for sharing cloth diaper patterns and gardening strategies!